If You Only Knew(8)

By: Kristan Higgins



Baby Beluga...Baby Beluga...

I forward the picture to my phone.

Then I delete it from his.

That throbbing vein makes me feel sick. I put the phone back in his jacket pocket, put the jacket back in the bag, and then I go back into the kitchen and take a big sip of wine, then another.

The girls’ door closes upstairs. Adam is always faster at tucking in than I am.

His feet thud down the stairs. “Babe,” he says. “Have you seen my phone?”

“No,” I lie. “But I did just put your jacket in the dry-cleaning bag. Maybe it’s in your pocket?”

“Right.” He goes to the closet, retrieves the phone, checks it. Then he looks at me with a smile. “What’s for dinner? It smells fantastic in here.”

“Salmon.”

“My favorite.”

“I know.” And then I smile, though I have no idea how my face actually looks, and pour him some wine.

I remember what I wanted to tell him. No fanks, Mama, I fine.

I don’t tell him. I keep that to myself.

When we go to bed a couple of hours later, Adam checks his phone, kisses my temple and is asleep within seconds.

Usually, we make love on Friday nights, since the next day is Saturday and Adam doesn’t have to get up early. He tells me I can sleep in, too; the girls are big enough to play in their room for an hour or so, and he’s even offered to get up with them. But he never hears them, so I wake up anyway, and then wake him up, and then I can’t ever get back to sleep once I hear the girls moving and talking.

But this Friday night, nothing. A kiss on the temple. No expectant smile, no nuzzling, no “you look beautiful” or “you smell fantastic,” his traditional opening volley when it comes to sex.

Maybe he noticed that I fell asleep last time after all. Maybe he’s being thoughtful.

Or maybe it’s something else.





Jenny

The drive from Manhattan to Cambry-on-Hudson is one I could make in my sleep. COH is my hometown, a place my sister never left except to go to college, a place I visit at least twice a month.

But it’s different, coming here to live. On many fronts, it’s perfect, because I never did want to stay in Manhattan forever. COH is a pretty town on the banks of the Hudson, saved from true depression by its proximity to the city and some really smart planning on the part of the town council. Years ago, they preserved the riverfront, which is now home to restored brick buildings filled with dress boutiques and home goods shops, a bakery and café, an art gallery and a few restaurants and salons.

And Bliss.

There, in the center of the block, is my new business, the shop name announced in sleek steel letters over the door. Rachel designed the logo, a simple branch of cherry blossoms, and three days ago, we tackled the window display—pink silk cherry blossoms tied to dangling white ribbons. The interior of the shop is the palest pink, the floors a dark cherry, newly sanded and polished.

In the window, being admired by three young women, is a strapless peau de soie dress with lace overlay, a pattern of tiny rosebuds woven into the Chantilly.

Cambry-on-Hudson also is home to three country clubs, an equestrian club and a yacht club—it’s on the very border of Westchester County, you see. With all those wedding venues and deep pockets in town, Bliss should do just fine. And maybe I’ll get the old tingle back, now that I’m not surrounded by memories of Owen.

I’ll miss the city, but I admit that I feel a little relieved to get out of there, too. It’s a hard place to live—the constant noise, the endless blur of humanity, the exhaust and pavement and strangely sweet steam rising from the subway grates. It takes a toll, all the walking in heels, navigating through crowds, grabbing on to subway poles and stair railings that have been touched by thousands of people. And last I checked, I was allowed to go back to visit, though my friends and colleagues made it feel a bit like I was walking the green mile to my execution. Such is the nature of New Yorkers.

So, yes. This is a good move, a year in the making, and I can’t wait to get settled. Life will be quieter here. Easier. I’m not just moving because Owen and I got a divorce. Honest.

I head up the hill from the riverfront, where there is block after block of gentrified old row houses. Some streets are a little careworn and rough, and the other side of Broadway gets seedy fast, as we are not quite as Westchester County as the rest of Westchester County. The Riverview section of the city, where my sister lives, is quite posh, with big sprawling houses and glimpses of the Hudson.

But Magnolia Avenue, where I’m renting, is lovely without being snooty. Real people live here, people who have to work for a living.

As I pull up to Number 11, my phone rings.

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